Friday, June 7, 2013

Golfing: Not as many douchebags as one might expect

When I was a lot younger, I thought that golf courses were a waste of land and golfers were pretty much the epitome of the white male elitist snob who looked down on everyone else.

For what its worth, I've encountered some people on some courses that would still fit that bill.  I like to call them 'snooty self-absorbed douchey-bags'.  But there is a whole lot less of them at the courses I play than I would have expected.

Haven't seen the judge on the course yet.  I hear he never slices.

I still think we should consider combining golf courses and cemeteries.  But more on that in a later post.  (the punchline:  '..and you can put the ashes in the sand trap!')

Before I started golfing, I thought it was a very exclusionary, elitist activity.  (For a break down on private clubs, here's a neat blog entry.)  Never mind the fact that I had three uncles who were all very down to earth and all enjoyed it very much.  And, one of my cousins almost made it into the PGA.  All very good, down to earth people.  But, having seen Caddyshack during my formative years, I thought that it was what golf was all about.  A bunch of snobs.

And flashy pants.  Golf is all about the flashy pants.

And then, a few years ago, (OK, ok, 9 years!), I had an upcoming interview with EA's Motion Capture studio.  I figured I should pick up a few of their games to see how good they were and to talk intelligently about their product in the interview.  One of the games I got was Tiger Woods 2005.

It was actually a lot of fun!  Of course, it was really easy to hit the ball, when all you had to move was a joystick.  Oh, and there were explosions and particle effects.  that made it pretty cool.

My office was about half a mile from a golf course and driving range.  So, one lunch I thought I'd try it out for real.  At first, I felt like I didn't belong, that it was too rich for my blood.  But then I noticed that there were people from all walks of life there.  Not just old, rich, white guys.  And they served hot dogs, not lobster.  It was still intimidating, not knowing what to do.  I put the rubber tee on top of the mat, and hit a ball off of it.  The tee flew further than the ball!  And, I wasn't supposed to go out there and retrieve it, else someone hit me with their shot.  I quickly figured out that the tee was supposed to go through a hole in the padded mat.  I was so embarrassed.  (I later saw other rubber tees out there from people who made the same mistake)

But, then I went back to it.  Eventually, one ball really flew.  That particular swing was effortless, and I barely felt the club hit the ball.  I'd later learn that was the 'sweet spot'.  And this was how I got hooked.  In that moment, I felt a connection with the ball.  It was as if I was flying with it.

The next time I talked to one of my uncles, I mentioned that I wanted to get into it.  He got me a starter set of clubs.  And I've been golfing ever since.

It's a great way to meet people from all walks of life, especially if you go to municipal (public) courses.

Next up:  The Pros & Cons of Golfing.